Ian Greene Award recognizes the best student-nominated LA&PS instructors

Photo Courtesy of SCOLAPS

“It’s the students who choose who they think are the best teachers,” — that’s the principle behind the Ian Greene Award for Teaching Excellence, according to its namesake Professor Emeritus Ian Greene. 

The award, presented annually to one professor and one teaching assistant by the Student Council for the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies (SCOLAPS), is the only of its kind in the faculty. Students are encouraged to nominate instructors who demonstrate excellence in teaching and a drive to make learning a unique experience. 

“I’m particularly thrilled that the award is run by students,” says Greene. “It was created to make sure that the best teachers in the faculty, according to students, would be the ones who would be honoured.”

When SCOLAPS began presenting the award in 2007, they named it after Greene, a professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration, to recognize his drive to connect with his students. 

Greene explains that “before this award was created, there were many excellent teachers who were not being recognized.” Many of those unrecognized teachers, he says, were contract faculty and teaching assistants, who were often left out of other university teaching awards.

When Greene served as an associate dean in LA&PS from 1997 to 2000, he realized that contract faculty in particular were making “valuable contributions,” but were not receiving adequate recognition. “I really felt we could do more,” he says.

Many students felt the same, and thus the award was born. 

“The criteria for the ‘best’ includes great lectures, being well-organized, having good course outlines, but also being available for students,” Greene believes. He encourages students to consider a few questions when deciding who to nominate: “Are these faculty members available to students outside of class? How much do they hope to help students get on with their careers? Are they willing to mentor or advise them?”

For teaching assistants or part-time faculty applying for full professorship, the award can be a boon. “Having won the award really boosted their chances of being hired,” explains Greene.

For that reason, the Ian Greene Award can be a great way for students to show their support for a particularly outstanding instructor. “It means a great deal to [the award winners] to be selected,” says Greene.  

As a final word of advice, Greene says he would “encourage students to take the time to nominate the teachers they have been most inspired by, and to take the time to write a fair amount about why they’re nominating them in order to give their nominees a good chance of being selected.”

Nominations are open now and can be made online at https://iangreeneaward.carrd.co/. The nomination deadline will be announced after the conclusion of the labour disruption. 

Students who want to get more involved with the award can apply to sit on the adjudication committee, which will review applications and determine the award recipients.

For more information, email Hale Mahon, director of the Ian Greene Award, at hmahon@my.yorku.ca

About the Author

By Hale Mahon

Health Editor


Hale is a third year student in Public Administration with a Minor in Psychology. He loves politics and sits on a few boards and committees at York, including the Student Centre Board of Directors, the Student Council for LA&PS, and the university’s academic senate. As health editor, he wants to see how medical and scientific research can inform political and organizational decisions, and believes that well-communicated science can improve outcomes for everyone. Outside of work, he enjoys cooking, traveling, hiking, camping, photography, and watching 90’s sitcoms.


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